LOS ANGELES – Nice catch by his brother, Patrick Reynolds admits.
Forty-two years after his boyhood baseball glove disappeared, his brother discovered it hidden in a barrel of used sports equipment at a Torrance flea market.
Reynolds’ name, printed with a felt-tipped laundry marker on the left-handed mitt, was still legible. So was his family’s pre-area code phone number: “FRontier 18709.”
Reynolds, 57, a Lomita resident who is a senior Los Angeles County parks landscape architect and University of California, Los Angeles, extension instructor, was stunned when his brother bought it for $5 last week and returned it to him.
“He thought maybe I’d had the glove all these years,” said Jeff Reynolds, a 47-year-old telephone service technician.
The Rawlings “Trap-Eze” outfielder’s glove was still in good shape. Patrick Reynolds had used it in 1961 and ‘62 while playing Little League and Pony League baseball. He switched to the first-base position – and to a first baseman’s mitt – when he began playing freshman ball at Torrance’s North High School.
“It was a great, Don Demeter autographed glove,” named for the Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder who accompanied the team from Brooklyn, Reynolds said. “I worked on my dad’s catering truck to save money to buy it. At the time it was very expensive. It cost $14, and I bought it at the May Co.”
Reynold’s father, Jim, was a Fremont High School baseball player before being drafted by the St. Louis Browns. But before he could join the majors he was drafted by the military for World War II. Afterward, he played recreational ball and mentored young players until about age 65.
“He was always collecting old gloves and relacing them and giving them to kids who needed them. I figure he found mine at home and donated it to somebody to use,” Reynolds said. “Dad lived and breathed baseball.”
The swap meet, at the Alpine Village, is located close to where the brothers grew up. They speculate the glove remained in the neighborhood this whole time.
When his father died last October at age 80 friends at his memorial service sang “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” in his honor.
Reynolds will display his old glove on a shelf. “All my grandkids are right-handed, so they can’t use it,” he said.
As for his brother, Reynolds said he scored big with the glove’s run home.